As I may have mentioned on the blog a time or five, something I often struggle with is finding enough time to do the ridiculous amount of nerdy things I want to do. I have so many hobbies that I could comfortably fill about three …
Month: January 2017
This is the big season for professional wrestling and in particular for the WWE where they start off the year with The Royal Rumble and it leads up to the Wrestlemania in April. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about what used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. Now I just openly enjoy it and have taken to watching it (and Kristen is actually watching it as well and kind of getting more into it).
Why would you watch wrestling, it’s fake?
That’s probably the most common question about why people would watch wrestling. Yes, it is fake, but it’s the absurd silly story telling and action that make it fun. I enjoy it because of it’s absurdity and because with the action they can actually weave a story that kind of makes sense. It is intense, pulse pumping, action with sections of cringe inducing chunks of dialog and sometimes really awesome dialog.
Why is it Nerdy (or is it even)?
It’s so much like kind of watching someone play a game of Fiasco. It’s insane storytelling, it’s something that you can speculate about. And most nerdy things are stuff that people get very invested into, try and figure out what is going on and what is going to happen. It’s like watching a low level play or movie that unfolds with a whole lot more action, and both of those things can be nerdy things that people can invest themselves in. For those reasons, it’s definitely something that is nerdy or geeky or however you want to put it.
So how do you get started watching it?
That’s a great question. For me, it was seeing some pro wrestling in high school that was on the TV and then watching some in college. But it wasn’t until recently (about August) that I really got back into it again. But how would I recommend starting to watch it? Watch it with someone who is already watching it. There are always story lines that are going on, so there isn’t a great spot to just jump in and get all new stories. Maybe you don’t have someone you can watch it with as everyone else thinks it is dumb (don’t let those people dissuade you if you want to watch it), then you just kind of have to jump into it. I would probably start with watching Smackdown on Tuesdays. It’s a shorter show than RAW the Monday show, and that means it moves faster, has less filler, and has less stories to learn about. The announcers and the production does a good job of touching on the stories that have been told and are being told so that it gets a mini-recap each week.
Who are some of the wrestlers that you need to know or cheer for?
There is no correct answer for that. But here are some of the big names: Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, New Day, Enzo and Big Cass are all on RAW. For Smackdown there is AJ Styles, John Cena, Dean Ambrose, The Miz (and he is awwwwwwwesome), Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, The Wyatt Family, Randy Orton. There are legends like The Undertaker, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar as well. But everyone really picks who they like to watch and who they really enjoy. There is no right or wrong answer and even the people who most people don’t like Roman Reigns there are still people who like him. So spend some time and find who you like and who you don’t.
How do you talk about it?
There’s a reason for this, there is a little vocabulary that you might want to know:
Face/Heel: A face is someone who the crowd is supposed to like, they are the good guy who doesn’t cheat when the wrestle. A heel is someone you aren’t supposed to like. They are a jerk to people, they cheat to win, if they have a title belt, they keep it by questionable means.
Work/Shoot: So, this deals with the promos that the wrestlers do. A work is a semi-scripted to fully scripted series of lines that they deliver. A shoot is not scripted, that’s when two or more wrestlers are giving a promo without a script. The shoots tend to be more interesting, but what the WWE really wants to do is have a work feel like a shoot.
Kayfabe: This is a term that isn’t used all that much anymore, but back when the internet was barely a thing, they really wanted people to believe that it was real, so they would spend all the time and effort trying to get people to think that fake injuries were real, that the wrestlers really did hate each other all the time. It’s not really a thing anymore, people like John Cena does a lot of charity work, he’s in movies, and on television talking about wrestling and promoting it even when he isn’t supposed to be around. Now the story line elements just stay with that.
Then there are all sorts of moves that you’ll learn about eventually.
So why write it now, because it’s the Royal Rumble. It’s the second biggest pay per view event of the year, so it was the right time to talk about it. The Royal Rumble is one of the most fun events of the year if not the most. So if you are wondering about pro wrestling, it’s a great time to start.
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So, as I prep for my Star Wars game (aka daydream about it), I was thinking about monsters and how to create a good cohesive campaign with fun cool monsters that make sense. The Monster Manual from Wizards of the Coast and now Volo’s Guide …
Peder and I have played a number of long, involved, story-heavy games lately, and while they’ve been awesome, last week we decided to switch things up a bit. Peder got Forbidden Desert for Christmas this year, and we took it, along with a couple of other short, simple games, with us for our most recent Insight game night (our biweekly visit to Insight Brewery to play games and drink good beer).
Forbidden Desert is a spinoff of Forbidden Island — in the original game, the players play cooperatively to collect parts for their crashed helicopter so they can fly away from a volatile tropical island before it sinks. Forbidden Desert’s concept is similar, but is, of course, set in a desert instead of the middle of the ocean. But the differences don’t stop there — Forbidden Desert incorporates new mechanics, new ways to scale the difficulty level, and new ways to strategize that, in my opinion, improve upon the original game.
To begin the game, you set up a 15 x 15 grid of gaming tiles, each depicting a different section of the desert onto which you and your fellow players have crash-landed your magic airship. At the center of the grid, there’s a blank spot — this represents the storm that chases you and your teammates around the board, causing sand dunes to pile up and impede your progress. Before beginning the quest, each player chooses their role card. Each role has a different function as part of the team, and a different special ability. For example, the Water Carrier can carry a larger water supply than the other roles and can even give extra water to others, and the Climber can keep moving over tiles covered in sand tiles that would block other players.
During their turn, each player can take four actions — they can choose to move, clear sand tiles, excavate hidden tiles (in hopes of finding water, gear, tunnels in which to hide from the sun, or the all-important ship pieces), or some combination thereupon. Once they’ve taken their actions, they draw a few cards — the exact number is determined by the location of the marker on the difficulty level counter. The cards can cause the storm to move (making sand pile up), cause the storm to get stronger (making the difficulty level rise), or the sun to beat down (forcing players to use up some of their precious water supply). The players win by collecting all of the stray ship parts and making their way to the launchpad tile to repair their ship and escape the desert. And as with so many cooperative games, there are several ways to lose — if all players run out of water, if the storm gets so strong that all sand tiles have been placed onto the grid, or if the difficulty counter goes past the top mark, it’s game over.
Like Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert is easy to pick up, has a simple concept, and requires a level of strategy that most players will find accessible. However, though I found Forbidden Island to be too easy and overly simple (at least for a two-player game), Forbidden Desert has no such pitfalls. Even for a strategy-averse person such as myself who nevertheless still wants to be challenged by games, Forbidden Desert has the ideal balance of strategy, luck, and cooperative play that all my favorite games have. It’s a fantastic game for when you want something fast-paced and high-stakes, but that you don’t want to spend a ton of time playing. Peder and I easily played through this game twice in an evening, and that was after we’d played a couple of rounds of another quick game. Forbidden Desert is one of those games that would be fun to play with just about any group — adults, kids, veteran gamers, and newbie gamers will all have a good time with this game, and nobody will get bored or, conversely, find the game to be too difficult. It’s a versatile, approachable game that you’ll most likely find to be as addictive as we did!
So how ’bout it? Have you played Forbidden Desert, or its predecessor, Forbidden Island? What did you like or dislike about either game? What’s your favorite setting in which to play games like this one? Talk about it with us below!
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